Six Maryland state parks will participate in the Great American Backyard Campout on June 23.

The national program that encourages families to camp out in "backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks" will be observed at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Point Lookout State Park in Scotland, Fair Hill State Park in Elkton, Elk Neck State Park in North East, Dan's Mountain in Lonaconing and Rocky Gap in Flintstone.

The campouts at Dan's Mountain and Rocky Gap are free to the public, but advance registration is recommended. There are a limited number of spots — also free of charge –— available at Point Lookout. Elk Neck is charging $15 per campsite, while Sandy Point is charging $25 for up to six people and Fair Hill is charging $10 for a party of four.

There will be a variety of programs at each park.

According to the Maryland Park Service, a ranger will speak about the history and significance of Dan's Mountain, where there also will be an evening owl presentation. At Rocky Gap, beekeeper Ben Cooper will make a presentation. There will be other activities, including canoe rentals and pontoon boat rides on Lake Habeeb.

Point Lookout will feature a wildlife walk, a campfire dinner, a Fort Lincoln tour, stargazing, a sunrise paddle, kids fishing, and an animal tracks hike. There will be canoeing, stories, crafts, sing-alongs, a live animal program and a night hike at Elk Neck. Fair Hill will offer similar activities.

For more information about the Allegany County park programs, contact Julie Wieners at 301-722-1480 or jwieners@dnr.state.md.us. For more information about Elk Neck, contact Jeanette Bitzel at 410-287-5333 or jbitzelW@dnr.md.us. For more information about the Sandy Point program, contact the park at 410-974-2149 or sandypoint@dnr.state.md.us.

The Point Lookout contact is Courtney Clark, 301-872-5688 or cclark@dnr. state.md.us. Nicole Heinrich is the contact at Fair Hill, 410-398-1246 or nheinrich@dnr.state.md.us.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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